Asteroid 2009 HJ21. Heard of it? Perhaps not as it was just discovered on Tuesday. And at 7:10 PM MDT it came pretty close to us. How close? 1.3 LD close. That’s Lunar Distances. That means it was the Moon away plus 1/3 of that distance or 310,512.42 miles. Or in space measurements converted to Don Adams: “Missed it by that much”. Or basically it was so close it could look directly into your bathroom window if it were the house next door. Thankfully we had that gauzy curtain material down so it could only see our silhouette.
The asteroid is estimated to be around 11 meters wide or, for Americans, Liberians and Burmese, that’s 36 feet. “Bah!” you say. What could a tiny piece of rock only 3 yards wide do? Well, according to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Death By Black Hole, a 10-meter asteroid would… well, it would break up in the atmosphere, but a hunk of it could totally take out your car window if you’re a jerk to little puppies!
Still, we only had two-days notice.
Look we have a black President now so if you believe Hollywood (and I know you do), a big slab of rock is going to crash into Earth like in Deep Impact. And unlike Armageddon, there is no way to get a crew of engineers and demolition experts up there with that kind of notice much less a crew of ruggedly handsome actors. I guess we just wipe our collective brow at this point and hope it doesn’t happen — coz it will — until our great, great, great grandchildren’s generation because we won’t know them well enough to care.